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January 19th, 2021

Virtual SHOT Show — New Products for 2021

SHOT Show 2021 on demand scopes bullets rifles kestrel targets

If this were a normal year, our team would be reporting from SHOT Show in Las Vegas right now. But the COVID-19 Pandemic changed all that. There is no SHOT Show 2021. However, the organizers of SHOT Show have created a virtual gallery of new products, SHOT Show “On Demand”. We scanned through over 500 new products to create this selection of 14 “new and notable” products. There are new optics from March, Zeiss, Leica, and Athlon, new bullets from Berger, new rifles from Howa and Ruger, plus additional products for hunters and long range shooters.

1. Berger .25 Caliber Long Range Hybrid Target Bullet

Berger bullets .257 25 caliber long range hybrid target LRHT

Berger’s new .25 Caliber 135 grain Long Range Hybrid Target bullet is the latest projectile offering in the highly-anticipated Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT) product line. The new .25 Cal LRHT boasts a high BC, jump-tolerant hybrid ogive profile that is Doppler Radar-verified with less than 1% BC variation.

The 25s are ideal for many of today’s PRS and NRL disciplines that reach out to 1,000 yards and beyond. They are tailored for cartridges such as the .25 Creedmoor, 25-06 Remington, along with several wildcat cartridges popular among competitive shooters. The 135s require 1:8″ twist or faster. Use Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator and determine the optimal twist rate.

This Video Explains the Features of Berger LR Hybrid Target Bullets:

2. March 1-10x24mm Dual Reticle Riflescope — FFP and SFP

March 1-10x24mm dual reticle scope optic

The new March 1-10×24mm Shorty is a revolutionary compact scope. The innovative Dual Reticle design boasts the advantages of both First Focal Plane (FFP) and Second Focal Plane (SFP) reticles.

This scope has the convenience of a FFP reticle which scales precisely with changes of magnification. But the scope also boasts the usability of a SFP reticle with constant line thickness as the magnification changes. Placing the bright fiber dot in the Second Focal Plane ensures that the illuminated dot is effective across the entire magnification range.

This a great scope for hunters. It weighs just 17.8 ounces and is just 8.4 inches overall. With a true 1X power option, it can be used to scan rapidly with both eyes open. But with its 10-fold zoom ratio, it can also be used for long range shots requiring precision aiming. MSRP is $2750.00.

3. Kestrel 5700X Elite Weather Meter, Applied Ballistics + LiNK

Kestrel Ballistics 5700 Elite X with Applied Ballistics and LiNK

The Kestrel 5700X Elite Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics and LiNK offers the accuracy and reliability as the industry “gold standard” 5700 Elite. But the 5700X packs more performance power to deliver faster firing solutions for multiple targets at extreme long-ranges. This allows shooters to hit long-distance targets faster than ever before. With an upgraded processor that is more powerful and faster than the 5700 Elite, the 5700X provides quicker targeting data for extreme long-range targets. For security, the adjustable Bluetooth® Low Energy signal can be dialed from full power to off position to minimize Bluetooth® range detectability. MSRP is $849.00.

4. Leica Amplus 6 Scope with 6X Zoom Ratio

Leica Amplus 6 rifle hunting scope 6x zoom

Leica Sport Optics has introduced a premium riflescope line — the Leica Amplus 6 series. These 30mm tube scopes feature illuminated reticles and a broad, 6X zoom ratio. According to Leica: “The Amplus 6 combines the proven Leica DNA in a universal riflescope with 6X zoom. Leica Amplus 6 balances premium optical performance with rugged features and is complimented by the extremely sharp illuminated dot, 6x zoom, large exit pupil and wide field of view.” Leica promises “color-neutral images with brilliant color correction” along with tough construction. The Amplus 6 is offered in 1-10x24mm, 2.5-15x50mm, and 2.5-15x56mm models. CLICK HERE for product details.

5. Ruger Precision Rifle — Custom Shop Model

Ruger precision rifle custom shop doug koenig 6mm Creedmoor

The Ruger Precision® Rifle chambered in 6mm Creedmoor is the newest addition to the Ruger Custom Shop® line of firearms. Designed in collaboration with Team Ruger Captain Doug Koenig, and featuring a factory-installed TriggerTech trigger with Frictionless Release Technology, this new model builds upon the already competitive Ruger Precision Rifle to deliver a factory-built firearm specifically designed for long-range competition. MSRP is $2399.00. This is an interesting rifle, but we think for the money we would look at a semi-custom. Get a nice barreled action and drop it in a good chassis stock.

6. Zeiss Sports Optics — DTI 3/35 Thermal Imaging Optic

Zeiss Sports Optics DTI 3/37 thermal imaging camera optic deviceZeiss Sports Optics has just unveiled ZEISS DTI 3/35, its first thermal imaging camera specifically developed for hunting. The thermal imaging camera combines a high-resolution display with a balanced, ergonomic design. Thanks to the ErgoControl arrangement of the control buttons and the device’s specially-shaped design, the ZEISS DTI 3/35 is intuitive to use. The buttons are arranged so that they can be engaged quickly and accurately with gloved hands even when it is dark and cold. Even the high-precision manual zoom is designed work easily in the dark. The DTI 3/35 also offers precise magnification adjustments in 0.5x increments for the digital 1.0-4.0x zoom. This allows the user to quickly switch zoom levels, making it easier to find and then zoom in to identify game in the dark.

7. Athlon Optics — 20-60×85mm Ares G2 UHD Spotting Scope

Athlon Ares spotting scope 20-60 UHD G2

Spotting scopes continue to evolve, with high-end performance now being offered in more affordable units. The new Athlon Ares 20-60x85mm G2 is an example. This offers Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) glass plus a big 85mm objective — with a modest $799.99 price. This Athlon spotting scope has features found on top-of-the-line spotters, such as a full-diameter focus ring. Athlon says that for “a precision shooter spotting impacts at 1,000 yards, the extra-low-dispersion glass provides vivid clarity and resolution[.]” Note: The new Ares G2 20-60×85mm ships with a 3X zoom ratio 20-60 power eyepiece, but it can also accept an optional 28X fixed-power eyepiece with ranging reticle. Street price is $799.99 on Amazon.

8. Surelock Security Company — The Boss Giant Gunsafe

Surelock boss giant gunsafe safe vault 76 guns firearms

We know lots of our readers have gun collections that push the limits of their current gun safe. What you may need is the giant-capacity Boss Gunsafe from Surelock Security. This huge (59″ H x 55″ W x 28″ D) gunvault can hold up to 76 guns! Of course that rating is based on thin guns without scopes but this is still one of the biggest consumer safes on the market. The Boss safe features 14ga steel walls and door (top and bottom are 12ga). It comes with a 75-minute fire rating. The door is secured by fourteen 1.25″-diameter steel bolts and a SecuRam® Lock. Nice internal features include a deluxe Door Panel Organizer plus internal 110v and USB power outlets. This is a heavy beast — assembled weight is 920 pounds. Price is $1999.99, a pretty good deal considering the features and capacity. Note: This safe is so new it’s not on the Surelock website yet, but you can call 480-542-9459 with questions.

9. Howa — Carbon Fiber Stalker Rifle (Under 5 pounds)

howa carbon fiber stalker rifle stocky's stocks

The Howa Carbon Fiber Stalker hunting rifle is great new offering for hunters who want to minimize their load-out. As fitted with a Stocky’s Carbon Fiber stock and trim Howa Mini Action, this new Carbon Fiber Stalker rifle weighs just 4 pounds, 10 ounces. Weight will be higher with Short Action and Long Action. These rifles feature a M1500 barrel and the 2-Stage HACT trigger — one of the best factory triggers on the market. The rifle comes with the standard 3-Position Safety with the Mini Action, Short Action, and Long Action. All Howa Carbon Fiber Stalker rifles come with a Sub-MOA Guarantee and Lifetime Warranty. The Carbon Fiber Stalker will first be offered in Mini Actions, followed by the bigger action types. Available chamberings are:

Mini Action: .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, 7.62×39, and .350 Legend
Short Action: 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Rem, and .308 Win
Long Action: .270 Win and 6.5 PRC

10. Plano — AW2 Pistol Cases with Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor

If you have high-cost handguns, you may want to transport them in Plano All Weather™ AW2 cases. These will protect pricey pistols from damage, moisture, and corrosion. Plano has added Rustrictor technology and improved protections to its popular pistol cases. The new AW2 cases offer rugged, industrial-strength construction, a continuous Dri-Loc® seal, and an exclusive Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) powered by Armor. Plano states: “AW2 Rustrictor cases create a 360° shield that protects your gear and prevents rust, even in the most extreme conditions.” Heavy-duty, dual-stage lockable latches and a built-in pressure release valve help these cases withstand the continuous bumping and jarring of travel including airlines.

Plano claims that Rustrictor blocks rust up to 5 times longer then the compitiotn with 360° of protection. These Plano AW2 pistol cases are availible in three sizes: Medium (1 pistol, $59.99 MSRP), Large (2 pistols, $79.99 MSRP) and Extra Large (4 pistols with MSRP 99.99).

11. Walker’s — FireMax Walkie-Talkie Accessory

Walker's firemax walkie talkie radio headset earmuffs hearing protection

Here’s a very smart new product that lets you talk with other shooters or range workers when you have your earmuffs in place. The new FireMax Walkie-Talkie from Walker’s attaches to the bottom of a FireMax Muff, providing a microphone and radio circuitry. This unit run on the FRS frequency band, with main, sub-channel, and priority channel settings. The antenna is adjustable and their is a large, back-lit LCD screen. The walkie-talkie components is powered by the existing large FireMax Muff battery, keeping things simple. We like the fact that the attached Walkie-talkie will also control muff volume and mode selection. Price is very reasonable — just $59.99 (FireMax Muff sold separately for $149.99).

12. Swagger Bipods — SFR10 FLEX/RIGID Bipod

swagger flex/rigid bipodSwagger’s new SFRP10 Flex/Rigid Bipod is pretty expensive at $249.99 MSRP, but it does offer some unique capabilities that tactical shooters will appreciate. The special system allows the bipod to cant, traverse and FLEX. Swagger states: “Every shooter wants the rigidity of a traditional bipod but also have the ability to cant and traverse with ease.

The SFR10 bipod has the ability to cant and traverse, track a target and make adjustments down range-all without having to take your eye out of the scope and off the target. Adjustable flex tension allows shooter to fine tune flexibility to the situation. This SFR10 bipod easily adjusts from max flex to rigid, and legs can be set at 45° angle for lower shooting position. Bipod weight is 15.2 oz. and vertical adjustment range is 6″ to 10.5″.

13. SIUS HS10 Hybrid Target System — Rimfire AND Air guns

Sius hybrid smallbore air rifle pistol target electronic

The Swiss-made SIUS HS10 hybrid is an electronic scoring target for air guns and small bore rifles. As far as we know this is the first-ever electronic target system designed to work for both .22 LR competition as well as air rifles/air pistols. SIUS says this “is the perfect target for all 10m, 50ft, 50m needs from a single lane installation (with SIUSLANE software) to a system for competitions (with SIUSDATA,TEN-LANE Command Desk, SIUSRANK software). This new HS10 Hybrid target is ISSF rated for National-Level competitions. It can be used at home (for airgun practice) or for club/school/program sport shooting.

How it works: When the projectile passes through the inner target plane, it is detected completely contact-free by TWO independent HD-infrared beams. This technology allows for projectile detection with the accuracy of a few hundredths of a millimeter.

14. New Sling Saddle Secures Hunting Rifle During Carry

creed outdoors carry sling hunting rifle saddle

How do you carry your rifle when hunting? Do you stow it away in your pack for a hands free hike, sling it over your shoulder and hold there, or carry it in your hands to keep it handy for when you need it in a hurry? With the Sling Saddle Shoulder and belt clip system you can carry your rifle completely HANDS FREE. The Creed Sling Saddle Combo ($49.95 MSRP) offers a solution to a common problem that hunters struggle with when carrying a rifle on their shoulder. The Shoulder clip easily attaches to your backpack shoulder strap, is fully adjustable, and very easy to use. Simply attach it onto your favorite hunting pack. This unit comes in two variations. You can purchase the shoulder clip only, or you can purchase the Combo which secures your rifle at shoulder and waist.

This video shows how the Sling Saddle works in the field for hunters:

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July 17th, 2020

Traveling by Air with Firearms — What You Need to Know

Airport security travel bag check-in O'hare TSA

Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic, we know that many readers will be traveling by air this summer to attend major matches. If you plan to fly commercially in the weeks ahead, you need to be careful when transporting firearms through airports both in the USA and in other countries. It is important that you comply with all Homeland Security, TSA, and Airline policies when transporting guns and ammunition. Following the rules will help ensure you (and your gear) make it to your destination without hassles, delays or (God forbid), confiscations.

TSA Air transport safety locked bag declare firearm

You’ll want to visit the TSA Firearms and Ammunition webpage, and read it start to finish. In addition, before your trip, you should check the regulations of the airline(s) with which you will fly. Some airlines have special requirements, such as weight restrictions.

TSA Guidelines for Travel with Firearms

Firearms Guidelines
• When traveling, comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms as they vary by local, state and international governments.

• If you are traveling internationally with a firearm in checked baggage, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information and requirements prior to travel.

• Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.

• Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations. You may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case, including TSA-recognized locks.

• Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.

• Replica firearms, including firearm replicas that are toys, may be transported in checked baggage only.

• Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.

Ammunition Guidelines
• Ammunition is prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.

• Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm. Read the requirements governing the transport of ammunition in checked baggage as defined by 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8).

• Small arms ammunition (up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge) must be packaged in a fiber (such as cardboard), wood, plastic, or metal box specifically designed to carry ammunition and declared to your airline.

• Ammunition may be transported in the same hard-sided, locked case as a firearm if it has been packed as described above. You cannot use firearm magazines or clips for packing ammunition unless they completely enclose the ammunition.

• Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be boxed or included within a hard-sided, locked case.

• Please check with your airline for quantity limits for ammunition.

NOTE: The above TAS guidelines are reprinted directly from the TSA web page here: TSA.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition.

Important TSA Tips on Firearms and Flying

Good Advice from an Airport Police Officer

To help our readers comply with rules and regulations for air travel, we offer these guidelines, courtesy “Ron D.”, a member of our Shooters’ Forum. Before he retired, Ron D. served as a Police Officer assigned to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Here Ron offers some very important advice for shooters traveling with firearms and expensive optics.

gun transport caseFirst, Ron explains that airport thieves can spot bags containing firearms no matter how they are packaged: “Don’t think you’re safe if your guns are placed in cases designed for golf clubs or trade show items. Baggage is X-Rayed now and cases are tagged with a special bar code if they contain firearms. It doesn’t take long for bad guys to figure out the bar coding for firearms.”

Carry-On Your Scopes and Expensive Items
Ron advises travelers to avoid placing very expensive items in checked baggage: “When traveling by air, carry on your rangefinder, spotting scope, rifle scope, medications, camera, etc. You would be surprised at the amount of people that carry-on jeans and shirts, but put expensive items in checked baggage. Better to loose three pairs of jeans than some expensive glass.”

Mark Bags to Avoid Confusion
Ron notes that carry-on bags are often lost because so many carry-on cases look the same. Ron reports: “People do accidentally remove the wrong bag repeatedly. I frequently heard the comment, ‘But it looks just like my bag.’ When de-planing, keep an eye on what comes out of the overhead that your bag is in. It’s easy to get distracted by someone that has been sitting next to you the whole flight. I tie two streamers of red surveyors’ tape on my carry-on bag.” You can also use paint or decals to make your carry-on bag more distinctive.

General Advice for Air Travelers
Ron cautions: “Keep your hands on your items before boarding. One of the most often heard comments from theft victims was, ‘I just put my computer down for a minute while I was on the phone.’ Also, get to the baggage claim area quickly. If your family/friends can meet you there, so can the opportunists. Things do get lost in the claim area. Don’t be a Victim. Forewarned is forearmed.”

Choosing a Rifle Transport Case
Ron advises: “Buy the best [rifle case] that you can afford. Don’t cry when your $3,000+ Benchrest rifle has a cracked stock or broken scope. Think about what it would be like to travel across the country (e.g. to Montana or the Cactus Classic) and arrive with a damaged rifle. Remember the Samsonite commercial. (For you younger shooters, it shows a monkey throwing the suitcase around in his cage at the zoo.) Baggage handling is NOT a fine art. There is no guarantee that your rifle case will be on top of all the other baggage. Then there is shifting of baggage in the belly of the plane. Ponder that for a while. Rifle and pistol cases must be locked. It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that a simple pry tool will open most case locks. There is not much that you can do to disguise a rifle case. It is what it is, and opportunists know this. Among thieves, it doesn’t take long for the word to get around about a NEW type of case.”

Plano Two-Gun Tactical Case

Plano Double Rifle Case Amazon Airport security travel bag check-in O'hare airline approved AW2TSA
This Plano AW2 two-gun Case offers the functionality and durability of an SKB-type hard case for HALF the money. This is now just $116.67, while the equivalent SKB is around $300.00.

This Plano AW2 two-gun case is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in wheeled, heavy-duty firearms cases. This is offered in three sizes: 36″, 42″, and 52″. We like the biggest 52″ version, as it is long enough inside to fit most scoped match rifles. Alternatively, if you have a really long F-Class, ELR, or Palma rig, you can detach the barreled action from the stock, and run the two sections in the shorter 42″ case. This case is strong enough for airline travel, meeting FAA requirements for checked baggage. This Plano case offers a good balance between strength and weight, all for a reasonable cost — $116.67 on Amazon.

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April 7th, 2019

Plano All-Weather 2-Gun Rifle Case — Airline Capable

Plano aw2 all weather 2-gun rifle case hard case FAA

This Plano two-gun case is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in wheeled, heavy-duty firearms cases. This is offered in three sizes: 36″, 42″, and 52″. We like the biggest 52″ version, as it is long enough inside to fit most scoped match rifles. Alternatively, if you have a really long F-Class, ELR, or Palma rig, you can detach the barreled action from the stock, and run the two sections in the shorter 42″ case. The big case lets you easily carry TWO scoped hunting rifles. That’s great because this case is strong enough for airline travel, meeting FAA requirements for checked baggage. This Plano case offers a good balance between strength and weight, all for a reasonable cost. Yes a Pelican 1750 is somewhat better, but that will cost $270.00.

This 52″ case is available now on Amazon for $81.15. That’s a very good deal. This same 52″ Plano AW2 case sells for $169.99 elsewhere.

Specifications for 52″ Case:
Exterior Size: 53.5″ x 17″ x 7″
Interior Size: 51.5″ x 14″ x 5.5″
Dri-loc Seal and Pressure Release Valve
Dual Stage Lockable Latches for Travel
Customizable Pluck-to-fit Foam
Easy Glide Enclosed Wheels

Plano aw2 all weather 2-gun rifle case hard case FAA

These Plano All-Weather 2-Gun cases offer a water-resistant and dust-proof seal. NOTE: While Plano claims this case is water-PROOF, some buyers have observed slight moisture leakage from the ends. But as long as you don’t immerse the case or leave it out in intense rain for long periods it should be OK for most duties. You’ll have to pay three times as much for a much heavier, mil-spec hard case that is truly 100% waterproof. For most users, this case will do the job. The foam padding provides excellent protection.

Purchasers are generally happy with this top-selling case:

“Great value for the $$. From what I have seen on the range this is very well-built for the money. You will spend triple digits more to get better. Opens flat. Thick fiber-plastic case with formed ridging, good latches and spots for locks. Case has a fitted rubber gasket to ensure water resistance. Foam is dense and easy to use.” — The Critic, October 2018

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